“It all starts up front.” How many times have we heard a football coach use that phrase? Quite a bit. So, as the Vikings start their OTA season – they have 12 more on the schedule after today – I want to share a couple of observations from today’s practice on the Vikings front lines.
– We’ll start with the defensive line, widely considered a strength of the Vikings under Head Coach Brad Childress. And while Childress and Vikings DL coach Karl Dunbar have done a nice job coaching and tutoring since 2006, another individual was coaching up a rookie after practice today.
Brian Robison, entering his 4th pro season after being drafted in the 4th round by the Vikings in 2007, was working with the Vikings 4th round pick from this past draft – Everson Griffen. A couple of things struck me about this. From a numbers standpoint, Griffen and Robison are competing for playing time. So it speaks to Robison’s character that he would spend extra time working with a teammate – and rookie – who is also vying for snaps.
Robison was working with Griffen on hand positioning (when battling an offensive lineman) and instincts, and specifically telling the young rookie how important it was to shed blockers while still maintaining a focus on the QB/ball carrier.
Hopefully Griffen took note of what Robison was showing him because those 2 players actually have a lot in common and there are plenty of reasons why it would behoove Griffen to emulate how Robison has carried himself as a pro. Both guys have versatility, both were drafted in 4th round, both will have to work their tails off to maintain a roster spot and both guys have a lot of physical, raw talent and strength.
– Now to the offensive line, where the Vikings have 14 players who have participated in the first 2 OTAs and 10 of those 14 players are 23 years of age or younger. I spent a good 15-20 minutes during the early portion of practice on Wednesday observing the OL group, which is coached by OL coach Pat Morris and assistant OL coach Jim Hueber.
After watching for an extended period of time, the biggest thing I came away with was how much Morris and Hueber stressed technique and intelligence. More so than demanding powerful blocks, the Vikings OL coaches emphasized hand placement, footwork and knowing the assignment.
I think the attributes most commonly associated with the OL are grit, power and strength. While those are important elements to this part of the team, there’s no doubt that intelligence and technique are just as vital.
Tags: Brian Robison, Everson Griffen
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 4 Comments »